The Meaning of Relativity

by Albert Einstein

Introduction by Brian Greene

Brian Greene is my favourite physics author. We speak the same language (English), at least in some of his books.

So when I saw The Meaning of Relativity on Amazon I had to have it. Besides, am I really going to read a book by Albert Einstein? – Me, Albert Einstein!

Oh, ho hum, let’s see what I’ll pick up today … what’s this?  Ahh, Albert Einstein. So it came to pass that I began reading The Meaning of Relativity.

It has been a while since I read Brian Greene. His love of physics is contagious. His simple explanations bring concepts into focus for simple me. It was pure joy to read his Introduction.

Then the Introduction ended and the main event began:  The Meaning of Relativity.

page 1:

“The theory of relativity is closely connected with the theory of space and time. I shall therefore begin with a brief investigation of the origin of our ideas of space and time, although in doing so  I know that I introduce a controversial subject. …”*

As much as I cherished the lessons from Brian Greene, here now was Albert Einstein, talking to me like I understood every word. And I did!

Bliss.

Communication is so important. Despite the wide chasm in our I.Q.s, we were doing just fine since we met 3 minutes ago. I eased myself deeper into the Macy’s Martha Stewart medium and extra firm pillows, took some deep relaxing breaths, and rejoiced in my good luck to finally be introduced to him, Albert Einstein, after all these years. Why had I resisted for so long?

page 3:

“…By means of simple changes in position we can bring two bodies into contact…”*

He is a sweet talker. I don’t mind.

But then, as all relationships do I suppose, a perturbation arose when I turned to page 4;  a lack of understanding if you will, a gap. What was that? – An equation.

I read the passage once more, and again.  Yes, phew, got through that hurdle.  And we are back on track.

“Does anyone ever call you Al?”

Onward, to page 5.

Here again was a challenge. Another equation. But it was small, simple letters.

Ok, got it. Where there is a will there is a way Al.  Now that I’ve found you I’m going to persevere.

And so Al continued his discourse. Simpatico. Wow! Who knew? Me and Al.

Until page 6, where a total communication break down occurred.

Sadly, it was obvious our relationship was over.

With a heavy heart I turned off the light. I will always remember the hope. And now, to dream.

 

*The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein with an Introduction by Brian Greene
Princeton University Press, New Princeton Science Library Edition, 2014
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Bernie Sanders I Love You

NYT, Seth Wenig/Associated Press

NYT, Seth Wenig/Associated Press

No I do not want to look at your condo rental in Santa Monica

Not your baby cousin either.

“Mmm”

Not your begonia or any of its friends, the trifle you made, shoes exactly like our server has – I’m taking your word for it.

“Cheers!”

Yesterday’s sunset, your brother’s car, the full moon.

“It doesn’t do justice to it does it? It’s always bigger than the picture shows.”

I haven’t seen you in a while. Put down your device. Look at me. I’m talking to you.

“Did you finish the eagle sculpture you were working on?”

Ah, yes. There it is. Well, it is really grand.

“How is your mother?”

Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words.

“I’m taking my glasses off.”

I’m opening the case and dropping them in. There. And now, into the purse…

“It looks like a toxic dump. Oh, it’s the modern painting in your living room. Yes, I can kind of make that out, now that you mention it.” [squinting]

“No glasses…” [gesturing to eye area]

“Certainly. I have them.”

“No. Not going to. Talk to me.”

Yes, I’ve heard of YouTube.”

Check!

 

I met an angel today

It was raining.  I set out without an umbrella because I wouldn’t be able to carry it with groceries. The rain had become heavy by the time I left the store.  Several tributaries swept the wide sidewalk.  A swiftly flowing stream filled the gutter.   Hard rain drops sank into my trench coat. I wondered how long the brown paper grocery bag could hold out.

A man appeared beside me, keeping my pace, holding his umbrella over us. I glanced up at him, expecting a friend or acquaintance but he was a stranger.  His umbrella was not oversized, just barely big enough for the two of us.  He was close, our sides touching. I looked at him again, directly up into his face.  He was tall.  Black hair, short, a little cowlick in the front. His complexion was pale and luminescent. I said “thank you” and introduced myself.  He told me his name: Ozzy.  We shook hands. “You’re like an angel,” I told him.  He didn’t respond. “How far are you going?” “Straight for a while,” he replied gently.

“Are you coming from work?” he asked.

“Yes, I just needed to pick up a few things.”  We came to my block.  “I am turning down here.”

Ozzy smiled, “Have a nice evening.” I wished him the same, thanking him again, and turned into the rain.

baseball pitchers

Here we are in the best baseball of the year:  the World Serious playoffs.

I don’t have a favourite.  It doesn’t matter who is playing or who is winning.  I know, it’s a team sport.  But.  The pitchers!

Nothing is more enjoyable to watch.

Coming to set…

Mariano Rivera, closer for the New York Yankees, comes to set – Wikipedia

– beginning with the stretch:  back foot touching and parallel with the pitcher’s plate.  The right handed pitcher will be facing 3rd base with one hand at his side.

When coming to set he will bring his hands together in front of his body.  Most of his weight will be on his back supporting leg.  With his back knee slightly bent he will lift his free leg high.  The thigh and calf will form a 90 degree angle.  Balance is key.  A right-handed pitcher’s knee will be facing 3rd base.  In one smooth motion; stepping forward with his free leg (stride leg), he releases the ball.

The stretch is used when there are runners on base but is preferred in any circumstance.  It has replaced the once popular windup, a motion of bringing the arms up, back, and behind the head, then forward again to deliver the ball.

shoulder

To be counted as a strike the batter must swing and hit the ball foul (unless there are already 2 strikes on the batter, then a foul ball will not count as the 3rd strike), swing and miss the ball, or the pitched ball must cross over home plate and be horizontally placed as the official rules state:  Rule 2.00: The Strike Zone –

“…the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball.”

Weaver-Angels-take-series-opener-from-Texas-971TE7PU-x-large

Jered Weaver. How do You like your poetry?

jeff_francis_2007_09_13

Jeff Francis

The position of the fingers on the ball and the way it is released determine how it will move. The goal is to make the ball as hard to hit as possible. Confusing the batter is ideal. There are many kinds of trajectories: the breaking ball includes the slider – moving to the side away from the batter, or the curve ball which looks high to the batter but drops into the strike zone. The knuckle ball can be a curve ball but is thrown with the fingers bent around the ball, creating a faster, tighter spin. The screwball, one of my favourites, breaks in the opposite direction to a curve or slider.

The change up takes longer to cross the plate, throwing the batter’s timing off.

The most common pitch is the fastball, thrown hard and fast.  Variations in fastballs are determined by the position of the fingers on the seams.

Fastballs cross the plate in the 90 mph range, some faster than 100 mph.

Darren O'Day

the magic of Darren O’Day

Darren O’Day is one of the few pitchers in North American baseball who uses a side arm delivery.  These pitchers are called sidewinders.

Wikipedia:

” ...the four-seam fastball, when thrown by overhand power pitchers, seems to “hop”, or rise* on its way to the plate. This is because the ball is rotating backwards, lowering the air pressure above the ball. The same pitch thrown by the sidearm pitcher causes a horizontal rotation, and consequent sideways movement. Sidearm pitchers whose deliveries are below the horizontal throw a fastball that rotates nearly forward, so the ball will sink rather than rise….”

Adair, Robert K., The Physics of Baseball, HarperCollins Perennial: New York, NY, 2002, pp. 55–62, ISBN 0-06-008436-7 Contains a discussion about whether it is possible for a fastball to overcome gravity sufficiently to actually rise.

Which brings up one of my other favourites, the submarine.

darren sub

Wikipedia:

 … released underhand, and often just above the ground, with the torso bent at a right angle and shoulders tilted so severely that they rotate around a nearly horizontal axis. (This is in stark contrast to an underhand pitch in softball in which the torso remains upright, the shoulders are level, and the hips do not rotate.)

The “upside down” release of the submariner causes balls to move differently from pitches generated by other arm slots. Gravity plays a significant role, for the submariner’s ball must be thrown considerably above the strike zone,[1] after which it drops rapidly back through. The sinking motion of the submariner’s fastball is enhanced by forward rotation, in contradistinction to the overhand pitcher’s hopping backspin.

… the submariner’s spin is not perfectly level; the ball rotates forward and toward the pitching arm side, jamming same-sided hitters at the last moment, even as the ball drops rapidly through the zone.[2]

Shunsuke_Watanabe

Shunsuke Watanabe

Shunsuke Watanabe of the Chiba Lotte Marines is known as “Mr. Submarine” in Japan. Watanabe has an even lower release point than the typical submarine pitcher, dropping his pivot knee so low that it scrapes the ground. He now wears a pad under his uniform to not injure his knee. In addition, his release is so low that his knuckles often become raw from their periodic drag on the ground.”

1 ) Adair, Robert K., The Physics of Baseball, HarperCollins Perennial: New York, NY, 2002, p. 58, ISBN 0-06-008436-7
2 ) Brad Ziegler, AL Rookie of the Year. Hardballtimes.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-20.

 

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw is one of the top rated pitchers today.  He was the youngest pitcher in major league baseball in 2008, when he was 20.  He is left handed.

Left handed pitchers may not be as effective against a right handed batter:

– Their fastball breaks towards the batter, making it easier to hit.

– A right handed batter will be better able to see the release point of the pitch of a left handed pitcher.

This can be overcome by the talent of the pitcher and what he can do with the ball.  As well, a left handed pitcher is not what the batter is used to, creating novelty and possible distraction.

Pitchers

complex, flexible, single minded and determined, powerful, focussed, discerning

Fast. Strong. Precise.

I had to include you, Lew.

Lew Krausse Jr.

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